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Non-Retina Kinematograph (2017 - )

​ Materials:True slime molds (Physarum polycephalum)、iPad、Acrilyc plate、No nutrient agar、Webcam、Projector etc.

Non-Retina Kinematograph is an ongoing project which was created as a result of "Artificial Intelligence Art and Aesthetics Exhibition" held at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology in 2017/1/3 - 2018/1/8. The exhibit consisted of a slime mold (Physarum polycephalum), an iPad displayed movie frames and image projections.

On the iPad, slime mold is cultured. The slime mold moves on an agar plate and looks for food at a speed of about 1-3 cm per hour. On the iPad, the world's first color film "Becky Sharp" * 2 has been played in ultra-slow motion matching with the movement of the slime mold of 1 frame per 10 minutes. To us humans, this speed video is perceived as a static image.

Slime mold prefers dark places, and has favorites wavelengths and disliked wavelengths of light. Thus, it will react in response to the image of the iPad.

 According to the shape of the slime mold, pixels of the movie frames are swapped, and the image of the movie frame after the slime mold has passed is divided into areas of the colors preferred by slime molds and areas of unpreferred colors.

The front projector projects pictures including the frames and the slime mold fast-forward. This video allows human viewers to perceive the movie and the slime mold as moving for the first time.

In this work, it can be said that the slime mold is both viewer and creator. By the slime mold sense light and move, the movie frames change to pixels arrangement preferable for slime molds, and it becomes a meaningless arrangement for humans.

  We sense light through the retina. That is what human’s “see”. The slime mold uses the whole body to feel light. The “movie” screened in this work is a “non-retinal” movie reconstructed by the perception of slime molds.


* 1 Also called Mixomycetes or true slime molds. A strange creature that combines the plant-like nature of taking the form of a small mushroom to make spores and the animal-like nature of searching for food in the form of a variant to ingest nutrients. In the wild, they live on the back of fallen leaves and decayed trees. The species called Physarum polycephalum is the most easily cultured and widely used for biological research. Although it is a unicellular organism, it is said to have some kind of primitive “intelligence” to efficiently search and ingest food and learn patterns of environmental changes.


* 2 Original title “Becky Sharp”. An American movie released in 1935. The world's first total natural color feature film using three-color technicolor. It is convenient for slime molds that prefer dark places because there are many areas with low brightness. It is now in the public domain (copyright-free) state.

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